Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Remembering Our Bicycling Brethren Tonight

Bicyclists around the world -- including 30 in Las Vegas -- pedaled Wednesday evening to remember their fellow bicyclers killed by motorists.

The annual and international Ride of Silence, a May rite, is a show of unity among bicyclists to pay homage to those bicyclists who lost their lives for the sole reason that they decided to ride a bicycle one day.

The Las Vegas Valley Bicycle Club led the way for tonight's slow eight-mile somber ride through downtown and also along Alta Drive and back to the start at the Regional Transportation Commission parking lot across from the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets.

Veteran bicyclist Jim Little offered comments about the ride's meaning, explaining that six bicyclists in Nevada were killed in the past year.

After Little explained the course. bicyclists took off. Most people pedaled road bicycles, but there were a few hybrids and mountain bikes mixed in, too.

Two Red Rock Canyon Bicycling Characters

Red Rock Canyon is a special place, a geographic gem a mere 15 miles west of the glitzy and iconic Strip.

Lots of roadies are pedaling through Red Rock, but two of my favorite bicyclists on the Red Rock Strip are a guy named John from Detroit, who will be appearing in the View newspaper and lives in the Summerlin area, and Jared Fischer, who lives in Blue Diamond and owns Las Vegas Cyclery.

There's John pedaling a heavy Schwinn mountain bike.   And let's not forget Jared, below, riding his Moots single-speed bike (when he's not on his full-suspension off-road fattie). Jared was leading his weekly Wednesday morning ride.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hudson Valley Bicyclists -- Ride The Stewart State Forest June 7

One of the most fascinating places to ride a bicycle in the Hudson Valley is what I remember as the Stewart Airport buffer lands west of the airport. It's now known as the Stewart State Forest.

To highlight this amazing natural resource, a local group called SPARC puts on a very cool ride to showcase the land. I recall reporting about this great ride when I worked at the Times Herald-Record newspaper in the mid-Hudson region north of New York City.

Two wonderful environmentally-minded folks -- Sandra Kissam and former Times Herald-Record environmental reporter Wayne Hall -- are spreading the word that SPARC's 16th annual Stewart State Forest Bike Tour is set for Sunday June 7. Check out the info online here

Here is Sandra's message: Our website is updated and filled with all the information you need, including the link to online registration at Active.comOur Bike Tour brochure will soon be in many local bike shops. So you may mail in your registration, if you wish. We will have a newly designed T-Shirt for your wearing pleasure.
The Stewart State Forest is as vibrant as ever and our wonderful Volunteers want you to have a great day at the Forest.Don't delay---Register right away.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tour of California's Other Tour

What a surreal bicycling experience -- Sunday morning's bike route in downtown Los Angeles is closed to cars and I'm biking with a couple hundred bicyclists like seven-foot-tall hoops star Bill Walton, the legendary Eddy Merckx, American Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz.

Anschutz created an entertainment wing of his vast holdings (AEG), which includes the Amgen Tour of California -- the premier professional bicycle race in North America,

The eight-stage race ended in Pasadena today, with a Chairmen's Ride kicking off the day's festivities with a fun ride that followed the actual 15-mile stage course from LA Live in downtown Los Angeles to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. It was big-time bike racing. Six or seven of the 18 teams will head to the Tour de France.

The best part was chatting with Bill Walton, the 62-year-old former UCLA basketball superstar who lives in San Diego and loves biking.

He was chatting it up with anyone pedaling a bike.

"I'm Bill," he said. "How are you?"

What a blast to pedal through the finish line.

I knew Bill from Interbike last year and even got to catch up with him at the PAC 12 basketball tournament in March..

The final stage was a festive day at the Rose Bowl parking lot, where thousands of bicyclists converged to check out the bike festival that had more juice and energy than any other of the previous race-day festivals.

In the end Slovakia's Peter Sagan won the Tour by a mere three seconds. Here's a pic of your winner.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fighting Cancer With Bicycling

What an amazing dinner program put on by AEG and the Amgen Tour de California -- which offered a platform for the likes of Eddy Merckx and Greg LeMond to talk racing but also amazing speeches from people like current bike racer Jackie Crowell, who is fighting cancer.

In fact, the whole evening was inspiring, as the Amgen Tour o California paid tribute to 10 people fighting cancer (representing the event's 10 years) while also giving an award to bike racer Crowell, who participated in Thursday's time trial at Santa Ckarita's Magic Mountain after suffering brain cancer 16 months ago.

Here's Jackie, with Justin, who came from Australia to tell his story about cancer


After the dinner, I enjoyed getting the chance to chat briefly with LeMond, the only American to win the Tour de France,


Visiting Old Friends In Santa Monica

That's Lucia in the top photo, the super-cute, fast-talking little girl of my former Florida Today pals Vic and Rachael, who have carved out a nice life in Santa Monica, living in a modest apartment about six blocks from the Pacific.

Vic and Rachael are those types of friends who you can pick up exactly where you left off, even if it was seven years since I saw them.

I biked from downtown Los Angeles on Olympic Blvd about 15 miles to their place, on a street lined with healthy restaurants and cute shops in Santa Monica.

I believe Lucia is three and she already knows bicycles and helmets.

On the way, I passed through Koreatown on the way to Santa Monica.

I called Vic out of the blue this morning and I'm so glad he and Rachael found time on hardly any notice to catch up.Vic works for Sony, while Rachael is doing photography for shows and filmings.

All that stuff about Santa Monica being a place of super-health conscious people who are either actors or writers is true, I passed through Santa Monica on my bike during a cross-country decades ago and it;'s amazing what you remember.

I didn't realize Santa Monica had a cliff -- the Palisades cliff -- overlooking the ocean.

The pier was packed as the mercury hit 68 degrees and it was sunny.

You may have heard of this hotel.

I made my way to a paved trail on the beach and biked a few miles south towards Venice, which is one wild beach town.

I am staying at LA Live, which will be launching point for the final day of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday morning.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Magic To The Rescue At The Amgen

Good thing for temporary orange fencing and a handy place called Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park in Santa Clarita.

Snow on Mount Baldy wiped out that time trial location for Friday's Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California and pro-active Tour Executive Director Kristin Klein swapped one mountain for another, switching race venues from Baldy to Magic Mountain off Interstate 5 about 35 miles north of Los Angeles.

The amusement park remained open for regular visitors as Six Flags and Amgen race workers made sure Magic Mountain customers and racers zipping along at more than 30 mph on time trial bicycles didn't intersect.

The out-and-back course for Stage 6 was short at 6.6 miles, plus much flatter and about half the distance of the Mt. Baldy time trial route.

It was a logistical challenge to switch race settings in 24 hours, as Klein had to acquire traffic control, transportation and CHP permits and the cooperation of Six Flags to pull of the venue swap.

On Thursday, the 118 men racers from 18 teams knew they were going to stay in Santa Clarita (where they finished on Thursday) for Friday's time trial. Peter Sagan won the time trial in 12 minutes and 31 seconds and also took over the overall lead from Toms Skujins.

Sagan flew on the course at 31.57 mph -- not too shabby.

After Thursday's rainy day in Santa Clarita, it was cloudy with patches of blue sky Friday -- so race fans came out to the bike festival that accompanies each stage.

I met a bike shop worker from San Luis Obispo -- Jim Dover, retail manager at Art's Cyclery -- who soaked up the bicycle energy and even knew Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas.I had arrived early enough to even get on the time trial course and zipped across the finish line. .

 It was fun to see the bicycle tents with the roller coasters as the backdrop.

The Amgen race finishes Sunday in Pasadena.

I also had the chance to check out a fantastic bicycle trail in Santa Clarita around the corner from my motel.

And, how cool is this? One of the time trial racers was zipping overhead on an overpass as I biked on the trail.